Today is the first filming day with our soon-to-be-104-year-old friend, Janet.

She is going to share the story of her life with us by answering YOUR questions.


Janet Brooks, 104 on Oct. 15, 2010. Photo by Parker Howell

This has been a fun and interesting project already, given the insights we’ve gleaned from your questions for Janet. Here is our starter list. If you have more interests that aren’t represented here, please ask your question in the comments below, or on my Facebook page.

Looking Back

  1. What’s your earliest memory?
  2. What are your top 5 favorite memories that do NOT include family or close friends?
  3. What is your most cherished memory?
  4. What was the best day of your life?
  5. What do you miss the most about the world as it was in your youth?
  6. What’s the first car you drove?
  7. What was your biggest joy in life and your biggest sorrow?
  8. Do you remember the influenza of 1918-1919, and how did it affect you and your family?
  9. What lessons from the Great Depression or the two World Wars would help us now?
  10. How did the onset of the Great Depression alter your dreams for your life?
  11. What have we lost from our history that we should remember?
  12. What’s the most important invention you’ve seen?
  13. What has been the invention that has most improved your life?
  14. What did you think of a woman’s right to vote?
  15. What do you think of all the changes that have happened in women’s clothing in the last 100 years?
  16. What was your favorite fashion period?”
  17. What were the forks in the road of your life, and why did you choose the directions you ultimately took?
  18. Who were the top 5 people you have admired during your long life and what characteristics did they possess?
  19. What random advice do you have for people in your favorite and least favorite 5-year age spans, and what were those ages?
  20. What decade would you like to relive?
  21. Looking back at your life, what do you wish you had known that you know now.
  22. When did you feel comfortable in your own skin?
  23. What’s your biggest regret that you had control of?
  24. What’s your proudest accomplishment?

Recreation & Health

  1. Besides swimming, what other activities do you do: read, garden, etc.?
  2. How did you live your life – hobbies, health, food, exercise, work, play?
  3. Do you drink, smoke or do other baaaaaad things?
  4. Has what makes you happy changed as you have grown older?
  5. What prescription medications do you take?
  6. What supplements do you take?
  7. What’s your secret for a healthy, long life?

Family & Relationships


  1. What about your family? Were you married, children, etc.?
  2. What is your relationship with the experience of loss, as I imagine you’ve experienced plenty of it?
  3. Do you still think about sex or falling in love?

Arts & Culture


  1. What are your thoughts about our current culture and please compare it to when you were younger?
  2. Do you got to the movies, and if so, what kind do you like?
  3. What’s your favorite movie?
  4. Are you a reader? What kinds of books do you like to read?
  5. Who is your favorite author and why?
  6. What kind of art do you like?
  7. What are your thoughts about womanhood and what our role is, especially since “equal rights” movement?
  8. Has society as a whole progressed or regressed?
  9. What are your impressions of how society has changed the rules in which we raise our children?

The Environment


  1. What are your thoughts about our current environmental situation? I often say that if we lived for 500 years, then I’m sure we’d be living our lives very differently.
  2. How does the BP oil spill compare to other environmental crises in America?
  3. Do you believe in global warming?
  4. Are we taking better or worse care of the environment now, than when you were a younger woman?

Current Affairs

  1. Did your life progress anything like you thought it would?
  2. Do you think you are a better person now or when you were younger?
  3. Who is the oldest person you know?  Are they as much fun as you are?
  4. What do you think of the conflicts, the accomplishments, the craziness of this world and has it really changed?
  5. Do you think the women’s movement has positively or negatively affected the family dynamic? How so?
  6. How do you compare the world as you knew it as a young adult with the world as you knew it as someone in middle age, and with things as they are now?
  7. What has it been like for you to live through the events that you have experienced, and then to see how a later generation and society perceives/describes/interprets them?  Does the reality align with the perception?  Do you think that the popular opinion about something have firsthand knowledge of is way off from the truth?
  8. What advice can you give to help us to stay as connected as it sounds like you are?
  9. Personally, I’d like to know if you are more worried or hopeful about our society’s future?
  10. Is there anyone you hope to meet in heaven (other than God, Jesus)?
  11. Anything you regret not doing? Anything you wish you had not done?
  12. What do you see us worrying about the most, when we really needn’t?
  13. Would love to know what brand of wine Janet drinks so that I can stock up!

Do you have another question for Janet?